Greenhouses are wonderful and convenient garden environments, but ironically are not always very environmentally friendly. With heating, water and cleaning, it’s a hard balance to get right, but luckily there are many easy ways improve your greenhouse’s ecological performance.
Heating Your Greenhouse
It can’t be helped, sometimes the weather drops unexpectedly in the middle of May and a gardener’s only recourse is to stick in an electric heater overnight. Everyone knows these heaters are not particularly efficient and their heat quickly dissipates through the greenhouse glass. However, there are ways you can help save the environment and your electricity bills, by using heat retention methods instead. Bubble wrap liner inside the greenhouse is a particularly efficient way to retain heat during early summer months. The trapped air saves warmth and also stops the warm air inside the greenhouse seeping out through the roof and sides as quickly.
You can take this a step further by using aluminium, Mylar and polythene curtains to trap warm air inside. The curtains are drawn back during the day to let heat and light in and then drawn closed at dusk help retain the built up heat. Depending on the size of your green house, you could either use a throw over variation of curtains or make panels, which can be placed on the roof and sides. Left over laminate flooring panels backed with the reflective material are idea and easy to use.
Small Scale Solar Panel
These are popping up in more and more gardeners’ catalogues, but are sadly overlooked by many. However, a small solar panel fitted either on your green house roof or in a stand to the side can be very effective. The panel will need to be fitted to a battery in order to store the energy you produce, but this can then easily cover any small power requirements that you have, such as lighting, heating mats or even a small heater.
For small scale gardeners and growers, collecting rainwater can seem like a false economy. After all, you need to buy the drum and clean it occasionally. But even a small green house uses an incredible about of water. If you have the roof space, it’s well worth collecting.
Using Eco Products
And last but not least, you’d be surprised at the toxic nature of many fertilizers, pest control products and green house cleaning products. Even those of us who pick up the organic fertilizer, tend to forget this philosophy once it’s time for a yearly scrub down. This is because many greenhouse manufacturers give out recommended cleaning products to protect their creation, but these chemicals aren’t always good for the environment, your plants or you. If you’re looking for green cleaning products, they are out there.
Alternatively, you could consider making your own. The magic ingredients in greenhouse cleaning are newspaper, diluted vinegar, lemon juice and a good helping of elbow grease.